7 Things to Consider When Choosing Your First Job

Choosing your first job as a software engineer can be difficult when you only get a glimpse of what companies are like to work for and what their teams and people are about from a handful of interviews.

So how do you make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals?

In this blog piece, we’ll explore seven key factors that have helped to shape the decisions of Entelect software engineers and may help you to navigate this pivotal stage and set the foundation for a successful and enjoyable career.

  1. Learning Opportunities: Look for a job that offers ample opportunities for learning and professional growth. Consider if the company has mentorship programs, training initiatives, or a supportive environment that will help you develop your skills as a developer.

Entelect Junior Software Engineer, Lijani van Wyk de Vries offers her advice.

“In retrospect, I think my advice to graduates looking for a new job is that they need to make sure the company aligns with what they are looking for. Be it growth, a lively culture, flexibility, or a large variety of opportunities - the company you choose needs to align with what you want. I am saying this because as an ambitious person, I am always looking to grow myself. I have been fortunate enough to join a company that is extremely focused on its employees' growth - in craft and as a person.”

  1. Technologies and Stack: Assess the technologies and development stack used by the company. Make sure they align with your interests and goals. Working with technologies you are passionate about will keep you motivated and allow you to specialize in areas that interest you.
  2. Company Culture: Evaluate the company's culture and values. Consider if it aligns with your principles and if you would feel comfortable working in that environment. A positive and inclusive culture can significantly impact your job satisfaction and overall happiness.

Senior Software Engineer, Nishal Morar, adds.

“Try to write down some things that are important to you in a job. Granted when it is your first job, you may think that's easy - money is the most important thing. ‘Whichever company offers me the most money is the job I am going to take.’ This may serve you well initially, but soon we all come to realise there is much more to a job than money. So back to the point, jot down important things to you that you want and try to ensure you choose a job that offers the top 3 of your important points. Again it may be difficult initially in a first job, but over time you will develop a sense of what to look for and what to ask people to find out what the job and company are like.”

  1. Team Collaboration: Assess the level of collaboration within the team. A supportive and collaborative team can foster a conducive learning environment and help you grow faster. Look for companies that emphasize teamwork and encourage knowledge sharing among developers.
  2. Size and Stability: Consider the size and stability of the company. Larger organizations may offer more resources, structured career paths, and potential for growth. On the other hand, smaller companies might provide more autonomy, exposure to a variety of tasks, and opportunities to make a significant impact. You need to decide which of these factors you value most.
  3. Work-Life Balance: Evaluate the company's stance on work-life balance. Ensure that they promote a healthy work-life balance and have policies in place to support it. This includes factors such as flexible work hours, remote work options, and a reasonable workload.
  4. Career Trajectory: Consider the long-term prospects and career trajectory offered by the company. Look for opportunities to advance your career, take on challenging projects, and grow within the organization. It's crucial to assess if the company's vision aligns with your own goals and if there are clear paths for advancement.

Nishal ends with some final advice.

“Something to remember is that if you are unhappy in your job and find that the company and the culture are a negative environment for you, don't be afraid to look for a different opportunity. Many people think that they have to stay in their first job for a certain amount of time, which is wise to an extent. But if it is detrimental to your life and mind, do not waste any more time there than you have to.”

Ready to explore a career with Entelect?

Read more about our Graduate Programme here.